The idea that engine cost keeps people from racing is legitimate, especially for tracks like Road America, but I believe it's not the only reason keeping GT-1 cars at home. I don't know the ideal solution to get the cars out, but for me personally it is about being competitive. I'm not saying I have to win, but I have to feel I have a chance. I have raced in GT-1 for many years and have slowly improved all aspects of my car, year after year. My challenge has been that the rules change faster than what I can keep up with. As a result, I fall of the pace.
What it comes down to in my mind is: What is the objective of GT-1 as a class in SCCA club racing? If the objective is to allow rule changes in order to continue increasing speeds and introducing technology, then it looks like the GT-1 objective is on course. If the objective is to have good close racing at a reasonable level of technology, with big enough fields to make it interesting, then it is obvious there is something wrong. I am certainly not advocating a spec engine or a spec class, there are already too many of those. My opinion is keep the rules stable. Judge this by the competitiveness of the GT-1 fields and the level of interest, assuming this is the objective.
Adding another class won't help to improve the GT-1 fields, but again, maybe that's not the objective.
Thought I open a new discussion and start off with a response that Tom gave, which was very thoughtful, so I like other GT1 members to discuss it, it seems to me to be somewhat important. To me GT1 is a muscle car race group and I believe shouldnt be used as a race group for open ended technology like Formula 1. I have revised my comments from the one I previously posted.
Read your post and it brings to mind more of what us GT1 racers need to talk about, but first, I was up to RA on Thursday, your right Tom, disappointing small field but not the only class to have small numbers from what I saw that day. I heard a suggestion from a driver that should be seriously consider, the Runoff schedule is too long, costing some people 2 weeks of time and money, I mean when GT1 qualifies on Thurs. and races on Sunday with no racing to do in between, makes for a long week, anyway the suggestion I heard was that the Runoffs should be run like the June Sprints. Very good and logical point, there's nothing wrong with Gt1 and Gt2 in a group, I think that we as a racing organization are going to have to look at some changes.
Tom, to your other point about changes that have cost GT1 and make it harder for some to compete, here's what I see, that more changes are coming that will cost GT1 racers more money because of TransAm, I'll explain later here. Three things have made GT1 more expensive and two of them I think trickle down from TransAm, the first is engines and heads, a big price and the most costly. When I bought my Fringes chassis with Olds body back 94, I ran 23 deg. heads and motor which was common, but there was a lot of talk about the Ford engine and it's heads that perform a lot better, if I remember right there was a 75 lb. weight rule added for the Fords. I think other race series had the same problem, then the head manufacturers started in with the 18 deg. heads and even the 15 deg., some time after that SB2 came out. The Pros start using them, before long SCCA bowed to the change, but things are changing back somewhat, I think a couple of NASCAR short track series have steered away from the SB2, Air Flow Research has dropped their 18 or 15 deg. head if I saw it correctly online, I'm going with AFR 235 23deg. head, the flow rates are close to the 18 deg., so NASCAR and some of the Pro divisions probably will stay with the more expensive engines.
The second thing was the adjustable sway bars, which I think came from the CART race cars, then came to TransAm, there again, SCCA was talked into going with it, there's no adjustable sway bars on American sports cars (sold my fringes/Olds chassis and building up a newer car), I plan to go with non-adjustable sway bars, the way a sports car should be.
The third one is the wing instead of a spoiler, again, trickle down from TransAm to GT1, but the wing is here to stay.
Other then that, the GT1 rules have been pretty stable over that last 20 years.
Now, every GT1 racer should be aware what is about to come and that it will cost us more money, even drive some racers out, my theory to what is happening with TransAm is starting to show the light of day, I have written to Randy a couple of times, that the TransAm rules are getting farther away from GT1 and that it seems like GT1 is not welcome in TransAm unless we want to spend a lot of money to change the cars over. The reply I got back was that the rules were the same except for a couple of safety things, I said wrong and I went thru the whole list, like the right side net which a false claim about safety, I explained some older GT1 cars had the master on/off and Fire button between driver and the right side window, the hours to change that over and hours of labor is a cost to any businessman, plus other differences. I heard a comment at RA, that it might be that SCCA or whoever is running TransAm, that older GT1 cars are not welcome, they want the TransAm to be newer cars.
I told Randy that your making TransAm more of a spec. car to go along with the rest of the Pro Division, with the rule changes and what's coming next year, I told him, that I would think you would learn by what is happening, that GT1 is not as restricting in the rules and GT1 has more cars at their National events than TransAm cars at their races, GT1 had 25 cars (not 25 but 15) for the June Sprints. Instead of being more friendly to GT1 cars and getting them in the field, they went with getting T2 and T3 cars, spec race cars, now this year they added GT-3, another spec. class, so with TransAm being so much faster, their changing the rules next year and costing the drivers alot of money to change and from the other side of the mouth comes, to control cost, no it's to get the class closer to a spec. race car.
Here's what every Gt1 racer should be aware of and ready to stand up too, SCCA or TransAm people are going to say with the TransAm changes to one compression and unleaded fuel, there will be a disadvantage in GT1, so the rules need to change for GT1, which will cost us dearly. We are in a better position to stand up to them now, but the change might come from SCCA without any racer input, heres a example, I saw a post from racer14 being unhappy about the weight change for this year, I assume it came from the TransAm people but I was wrong. In August 2010, the Sept. Fastrack came out and in their "not approved section", was 3% decrease of weight for all GT1 cars.
So they heard from the GT1 members and decided not to approve it, then comes Dec. 2010 fastrack for January,
#3189 (J. Richard Grant) Reduce all Gt-1 weights
In 9.1.2.E.1.b.1 and 9.1.2.E.1.C. Apply a 3.5% reduction to all weights and round to the nearest five pounds.
So we can now see what SCCA pulls on its members, they got the input from members and didnt approve it, turn around when a different GT1 racer submitted the change and poof, it was changed like that.
I predict the same will happen with the compression rule and unleaded fuel, I hope Im wrong.
To Racer14 on the weight, I would have been okay if the weights stayed the same to make sure we didnt hurt the guys with older GT cars, but we must face facts, probably 90% of GT1 cars are tube frame cars and easily weigh below the new weight limits. There still is the weight penalty of 60 lbs. for Ford splayed heads and 60 lbs for SB2 heads.
Here's one more point all GT1 racers should know about, I've written this to a board member, that someone suggested to SCCA that they should consider having one chassis built with a Crate engine, be cheaper and get more people into the class, SCCA was interested, if that doesn't show that SCCA would like all their classes to be spec. race cars, I don't know what will and I wrote that as long as I'm around, I'll keep GT1 a true muscle car race class.
You know SCCA doesnt seem to stop, they have to keep making changes that cost us money, like now, seat belts have to be recertified every two years, that's a added cost to racers, it use to be five years, the fire bottle probably is next, but get this, the Indy League and AMLS do not have regulations about getting belts and bottles recertified, so why is SCCA dumping all these regulations costing us more money, they will say that the Insurance Co. wants it, I say show me the policy where it states that, because when the Indy series and others dont have it when their series are far more dangerous, someone is pulling our chain. Since I've been with SCCA in the early 80's, GT1 has not had a serious accident or some one die, TransAm had the one at Lime Rock in the late 90's, but it was rare how it happen, we sign wavier forms, no one has sued SCCA, if SCCA has to change for safety and not to be sued, that tells me the wavier forms aren't worth the paper their written on, which leads to, are the SCCA lawyers any good?
I'm like the rest of you, I just want to race and not have a lot of regulation costing me money which takes away from racing, it seems like in the last ten years, we are getting hammered with regulations in racing and in the real world. It's going to have to change or a lot of expensive race cars won't be hitting the tracks as much and there's too many GOOD people that we meet at the tracks, which makes the sport fun, to lose that.
Sorry for such a long response, but Im trying to alert people what has happen in the past and what may happen, I was one of the founding members of our GT1 group along with Rick Dittman, the late Bob Kasik, Jill Peters and a couple of others. Our goal for forming this group was concern about the rules and changes, even back then, as a collective group to be involved and work with SCCA. Yes, we have a good website, we have discussions, we have classifieds, but since SCCA probably doesnt even check our website, our original goal of a collective group and to have SCCA listen to us, has fallen short. Yes, we can go into the SCCA website and request a rule change, but we could be more affective if we had a poll to include or a electronic petition, numbers would help our cause. They now have these polls and petitions so one can only vote once or sign it once, what we need to check out and it would be for our administrator if we can get something like this included on the GT1 website. Then when someone submits a rule change, we have an electronic petition that can be included.
In also trying to help our group, Ive sent my resume in to be considered for a spot on the GT Advisory Committee, havent heard if Im accepted yet.
This post has been edited by prt1983: 21 October 2011 - 11:01 PM